7 Sep 2012

Errors emerge as new school payroll system starts

9:32 am on 7 September 2012

Five thousand staff have been underpaid and 15 not at all in the first run of a new school payroll system, the Ministry of Education says.

The first payments under the Novopay system were made on Wednesday. The computer payroll system was launched at the end of August, designed to make it easier for teachers to enter payroll data with its online format.

The system is the biggest in Australasia and was three years in the planning, costing up to $30 million to implement.

Some 90,000 school staff were meant to be paid under the system, but many missed out. The ministry says those who were underpaid should get their money on Friday and the errors are just teething problems.

Ashburton College principal Grant McMillan says about 40 of 160 staff at his school had an error in their payslip, including two who received no pay at all.

Mr McMillan says errors included staff being underpaid, delayed pay slips and wrongfully deducted sick leave.

Secondary Principals' Association president Patrick Walsh says he has been inundated with calls on Thursday from frustrated principals around the country.

"Teachers have received payslips which are encrypted and need an access code, which most teachers don't know, and can't read their payslips."

He says the system seems to be plagued with problems and teachers have found they can't contact Novopay to register their complaint. "The phones aren't answered, neither are the emails."

Mr Walsh warned that should be no more delays. "We want the problems fixed as soon as possible. Teaching's a very stressful occupation - we're coming up to NCEA exams. People are working hard and the last thing they need is problems with their pay."

Post Primary Teachers' Association president Robin Duff says there is no indication the whole system is chaos, although some people were inconvenienced.

The Education Ministry says it has doubled staff at the Novopay service centre to take increased calls and will hold a meeting on Monday with schools to discuss key problems.